Theodor Woker
Ship Number
Vessel Type
A&J Inglis
Launch Date
May 23, 1939
May 23, 1939
South African Government
620 grt
BP Length
145 feet
33 feet
No. of Screws
Speed (approx)
Triple Expansion
Official No.
 Theodor Woker

Renamed 1942 to ES Steytler,
October 23, 1948: Two men lost their lives when the crippled coaster Plettenberg foundered about 16 miles north-east of Buffalo Harbour in the early hours of yesterday morning. She was sailing back to East London after being holed by an obstruction off the Bashee River, sinking before reaching the haven of the harbour. The tug E S Steytler performed an amazing feat of rescue work when 32 of the 33 men aboard were picked up out of the choppy waters under a dark cloud-laden sky. They were thrown into the sea when the ship's lifeboat capsized. The Plettenberg was the Union's biggest and oldest (44 years) coaster.
She had an interesting and varied career, most of it served under the name of "E S Steytler", although she was launched as "Theodor Woker" in 1939 and actually set out on her delivery voyage from Greenock on the Clyde on the 1st September 1939.
She was fitted with twin quadruple expansion engines developing 13,000 shp per shaft. Steam was provided by four Admiralty pattern water tube boilers and she carried just over 60 tons of coal in her bunkers. Crew was eight deck hands, eight stokers and a Master, First Mate, Chief Engineer and Second.  She was diverted to the sinking Donaldson liner Athenia and brought survivors back to the Clyde where she was immediately taken over as a Rescue Tug by the Admiralty who renamed her HMS Stalwart. She was also present at the Dunkirk evacuation - probably the only South African registered ship to have that distinction. Her sister ship, also awaiting delivery, the "T H Watermeyer", was taken over as HMS Watermeyer. In 1941 the Steytler was released back to her original owners and, after some repairs which sorted out some interesting damage and removed a 12 pdr gun from above her towing gear, steamed out to South Africa to spend her life in East London and Durban.
She was broken up for scrap in 1980.